The United States reportedly had a secret deal with the Taliban to escort Americans to the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, CNN.com reported Tuesday.
An official revealed the U.S. special operations forces had a "secret gate" at the airport and established "call centers" to help Americans get through the process. None of the information was previously known publicly and the information was clearly hidden from the news, perhaps as a way of protecting against further ISIS attacks.
"The officials said Americans were notified to gather at pre-set 'muster points' close to the airport where the Taliban would gather the Americans, check their credentials and take them a short distance to a gate manned by American forces who were standing by to let them inside amid huge crowds of Afghans seeking to flee," said CNN.
Officials spoke anonymously to CNN "due to the sensitivity of the arrangements" and the information is only now being disclosed out of concern for American safety.
"Throughout the evacuation, Biden administration officials stressed that the Taliban was cooperating and senior officials stated they had committed to provide 'safe passage' for Americans," the report said. Clearly, this is what he was talking about but couldn't say publicly until after the fact.
"It worked, it worked beautifully," said one official, who explained it happened several times a day. What isn't clear is if this group of Taliban ever turned away any Americans who should have been allowed through. There are reports that Taliban checkpoints turned away Americans with legitimate paperwork.
The other secret operation was using "call centers" to work on the ground to help Americans escape. American troops would call the escapees and tell them where the secret door was to find the gate inside the airport, the report explained.